Flushing Out Emotional Toxins

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. PROVERBS 15:13 

When life isn’t what you had hoped, it’s okay to mourn. Give yourself the space to grieve what you’ve lost. Don’t try to tough it out. Stuffing emotions can result in shame exploding all over you and everyone else later. 

To live a present, peace-filled life, give yourself the grace of space without judgment. It’s helpful to name what you are feeling as well. But be cautious not to identify as it. You are a child of Jesus Christ; that’s your identity. Instead of saying, “I am sad,” say, “I feel sad.” Instead of saying, “I am depressed,” say, “I feel depressed.”  In changing your words, you prevent temporary emotions from latching on as permanent identities. An identity tied to your emotions can lead to an emotional loop. An emotional loop resembles the feedback loop created when emotions, actions, and thoughts seek to align in the brain, thus contributing to similar situations. 

Talking about your emotions is helpful, but be careful that you don’t solely focus on that. Talk therapy without other aspects of emotional processing is like detoxing without enough water to move the toxins out of your body. If you’ve ever detoxed, you know how important water is to the process. Without it, you are simply releasing toxins into your tissues to relocate into another organ or area of your body. This can actually create more damage than before.  Detoxing requires plenty of water to flush the toxins out.  

Talk therapy alone, and when done too long, fails some people because it brings out the negative emotional toxins only to have them engraved even deeper as emotional, mental, and physical grooves because they weren’t flushed out. This can keep a person stuck in fight or flight for far too long. The opposite of fight or flight is not happiness; the opposite of fight or flight is respite and restoration. Combining talking with other things such as relaxation, exposure to restorative movement, and mindfulness helps you heal. This allows the pain to move through you, creating a safe space for presence and emotional health.  

God designed your body to release positive, health-giving chemicals when you increase awareness, prayer, and gratitude, as well as to help your body return to homeostasis by processing stress in a healthy way. Take time to quiet your mind every day. Slow your breathing. Focus on what makes you feel grateful. In doing so, you let a joyful heart pump life both in and through you while flushing out the emotional toxins. 

Jesus, thank You for working for my good. I trust You and rest in Your love. Amen. 

This is an excerpt from It’s All Good: 90 Devotions to Embrace Your Now by Heather Haira devotional now available on DaySpring.com. Shop all books, journals, and devotions from DaySpring here.